Phish at Madison Square Garden on December 29th for their secnd night of a four night run gave new meaning to the term “Sunday Funday.” After dusting off the first night, fans had a better idea for time management with security check points, transportation plans and guessing songs for the evening. The new layout of MSG still left much for guests to explore, especially still gathering thoughts on the latest sky walk addition. 2013 was a momentous year for the band and its dedicated fan base, as they celebrated their 30th anniversary together in style from summer and fall tour, coast to coast and now to New Year’s weekend. The crowd was very excitable after the first night and eager to keep climbing the peak of the run.
“The Moma Dance” was a funky start with rippling guitar riffs from Trey Anastasio, just enough to get the heart pumping before heading right into a rowdy “Rift”, with a long withheld, endearing cheer during the musical pause at the five minute mark. “Roggae” was light and sweetly powerful, climbing easily with a blissful touch down. “Sparkle” was a youthful moment in the show, bringing a steady singing volume from the crowd with merry go round like joy. “The Line” off their upcoming album, Wingsuit, had reflective and mature lyrics with beautiful harmony. Another new song, “555” featured rising vocals from bassist Mike Gordon with an outburst or two from drummer Jon Fishman. Everything took a turn towards the funk during “It’s Ice”, when Page McConnell took the reins for a solo, it was overheard, “No big deal, Page is breaking it down.” The set stayed funky for a soulful “Gumbo” and the set ended with one of the highlights of the run, “Walls of the Cave.” WOTC had deep bass notes to start from Gordon that had the Garden shaking with this set closer as Anastasio jumped with delight from the crowd after his strong solo finish, it was a good sign for the night ahead.
“Down with Disease” is a classic second set opener and this one was no different with its odd, space odyssey bursts as Gordon slapped his bass with Chris Kuroda’s lights going in full blast, exposing the many wide and grand dance gestures of the crowd. Madison Square Garden holds so many Phish memories that sometimes they almost blur together so as DWD starts, you can’t help but look around to see if fans are starting to float up given the previous NYE stunt. With no hesitation, Phish dove right into “Carini”, 15 minutes of pure concentrated dark energy with echoes and screeches resembling a psychedelic spaceship complete with audience woos. Lightening up the set, we slipped into “Waves”, a very consistent buildup with Gordon bringing new ripples thanks to a power drill. “Twist”: you are either for ‘Woo’ or no ‘Woo’, but either way it’s happening. “Twist” was still hot after this year’s Fall Tour and had some hard hitting notes from McConnell with a slight “Oye Como Va” jam emerging from Anatasio’s rhythm pattern as it echoed the song. Phish jumped into a brief non-jam, but still fun, “Golgi Apparatus”, where everyone was happy to have a “ticket stub in their hand.” Fishman hits the familiar tempo of the cymbals to cue the eruption of “David Bowie” as the set closer, sending glowsticks flying in almost perfect match, the slow building Bowie jam hitting hard with the bands predictable peaks . The night ended with the main marsupial of 2013, “Possum”, a playful encore with Trey joking, “Thanks everyone! We’ll see you tomorrow night. Don’t move, just stay right here.”
Another night secured with pure Phish filled delight as concert goers cheered on their way out of the Garden. The boys from Vermont had performed a wide array of music, showcasing new and old favorites venturing into lighthearted fun with the audience and to the dark corners of their instruments. With the New Year just ahead, a great resolution for any fan is to never miss a Sunday show.
Set 1: The Moma Dance > Rift, Roggae, Sparkle, The Line, Stash, 555, It’s Ice, Gumbo^, Walls of the Cave
Set 2: Down with Disease > Carini > Waves* > Twist > Golgi Apparatus, David Bowie*
* Mike on power drill
^ Long Tall Glasses tease by Trey